2015 World Championship Regatta Preview

Regatta Preview: 2015 World Championship 

For some teams, the 2015 World Championship will be the biggest regatta of their careers to date. The championship is set to be sailed in the waters outside of Club Nautico in San Isidro, a province just north of Buenos Aires proper, setting the stage for this momentous occasion. Being crowned the title of World Champion is a feat that every sailor strives to achieve. But, because we are just one year out from the Rio games, many teams have even more to achieve at this year’s worlds.

Qualification System Debunked:

Only twenty teams get the chance to represent their country in the 2016 Rio Olympics. So far, from the 2014 worlds we have: 2 teams from Oceania and 8 teams from Europe qualified in each of the 49er and 49erFX classes, plus Brazil for hosting the Olympics. So, how are the remaining 9 spots determined you ask?? Brace yourself it’s going to get tricky… Three more teams will to qualify here in Buenos Aires, leaving the remaining six slots to be determined at subsequent continental qualifier regattas. At continental qualifiers only a country from the corresponding continent can qualify if they haven’t done so already. If the continental berths go unclaimed, they revert back to these 2015 Championships here in Buenos Aires. So there are likely to be 4 or 5 spots available here once it’s all done and dusted; let’s use the 49er example to explain:

Standouts to watch for in the men’s 49er fleet are Germany and Poland, who each had 2 teams in the medal race at the recent Europeans. Let’s say they qualify. Sweden and Argentina are close behind as each country has had medal race performances in 2015 regattas and the recent South Americans.  If Sweden takes the third spot, then that leave Argentina in a pool of 3 remaining countries for the sole continental spot from South America.  However, if Argentina qualifies, then Sweden remains in the pool from Europe while the 2 remaining South American teams go head to head.  Further, if no teams from Oceania compete in the Oceania qualifier, then the spot goes to the 4th highest placing team here, and in our example both Sweden and Argentina would qualify, leaving both their continents with better shots at the games.

For the 49erFX fleet, it is much more difficult to isolate which teams are most likely to qualify. Realistically, every team is in contention if the regatta goes the right way for them.  Local Argentinian favorites Vicky Travascio and Sol Branz, who took third at the recent South American’s, have had the best results thus far this season. With a larger percentage of 49er FX teams making gold fleet, its way more likely we will see tighter results than in the men’s fleet. Within either fleet, though, the results are going to get pretty interesting!

For a detailed audio/visual look into the current qualification system of both the 49er/49er FX fleets, watch our full length Magic Marine Daily Show here!

Who to Watch:

The 49erFX regatta should be a fantastic contest.  Looking down the entry list there are no fewer than 9 teams who should be aiming at the win.  That is a phenomenal number for an Olympic class, and it definitely goes to show how talented the fleet is. These teams are constantly playing chase games with one another, so it really could be anyone’s regatta.

Here are the sailors on the podium in major regattas of 2015:

  • Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (many medals including Test Event)
  • Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich (Gold Europeans)
  • Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (World Rank Number 1)
  • Ida Nielsen and Marie Olsen (Gold SWC Hyeres)
  • Jena Hansen & Katja Iversen (Silver Europeans)
  • Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos (Bronze SWC Weymouth)
  • Sarah Steyaert & Aude Compan (Bronze 2013 Worlds)
  • Maiken and Anne-Julie Schutt (Gold 2015 Princess Sophia Trophy)
  • Vicky Travasco and Sol Brantz (Gold 2015 Pan Am Games)

The 49er fleet is deeper than ever.  This year’s Rolex World Sailors of the Year, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke are back in action to potentially capture their 23rd straight win! Apart from Burling and Tuke, there are three dozen teams aiming for the medal race, and 20 teams aiming at the podium alone. To give an idea of the competitiveness, the 2012 Gold medalists Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, didn’t make the medal race last week at the tune up, in mostly lighter conditions.

With three days of racing scheduled, we will aim to see 10 races completed in the qualifying round. This should leave plenty of opportunity for the best sailors to show themselves and really earn their 2015 World Championship finish.

Cutthroat Country Qualifiers:

There are a number of teams who aren’t even looking at the overall leaderboard, or chasing Olympic qualification. These teams are fighting to represent their country in Rio. There is a rough outline of each nation’s qualification system on the Olympic page, but for sure the Danes, Brazilians, German FX sailors, British, French and others are all using this event to see who goes to the games. It is at this stage of the cycle where we see fellow countrymen(or women) become enemies, sharing can become counterespionage, and the generally care free land of skiff sailing tightens up. Overall, it’s going to be an action packed week!

Here is a podcast of a discussion with Andy Rice and Ben Remocker on the above topic…

How to Follow:

**Don’t forget to catch today’s poll below!!

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